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Monday, February 6, 2012

How to Put on a Really Awesome Event.

People contact us all the time, asking us to put on this or that event. And while the concept of extra cash is awesome, it’s a pretty good truth that doing lots of things means you do them mediocrely. So, instead, we at All Out Events proudly present our method to Put On a Really Awesome Event (PORAE).

  1. Pick your location and pick your sport. These two go hand in hand – sure, anyone can put on a 5k about anywhere, but we believe that to PORAE, the location should dictate the course. You want your event participants to be wowed, and the best way to do that is to think about what makes them do that. Location, paired with sport, is what matters. Also, work with the authorities for the area – know your laws and rights.
  2. Pick your reason. Why exactly are you doing this? About to sign on for umpteen hours lost, stressing about finite details and issues you had no idea were going to happen? For people to yell at you about things you kind of think are small potatoes? Pick your reason and believe in it. This will get you through the darker moments and it will help you sell the event to sponsors, volunteers, and participants.
  3. Pick your demographic. Based on your reason, you’re going to aim your event at somebody. That somebody is going to shape the feel of the whole thing. If you’re aiming for rich men in their 80s, your language and visuals, along with the course and prizes are going to be different than a whole gaggle of teenage girls. You may say, “But everyone is my demographic.” Wrong. Think about Apple vs PC. Are they targeting everyone these days, or do they know their audience and cater to them?
  4. Pick your time of year. Knowing who you are attracting will help with this. Weather can be a factor, as will be wildflowers and unique details like how busy your town is (ie, if you live in a college town and you attract college students, summer’s probably not a brilliant idea). If you’re attracting regular competitors, check race calendars and find out what people’s training schedule is. If it’s a school event, put it closer to September, when everyone is excited about school, rather than June, when everyone is over it.
  5. Determine your course. Just as location should have been your true inspiration, now the details of the course come together, informed by who you want at your race, why you're doing it (torture = hills, love = flat), and what time of year it goes on (maybe that venue is too full to do it then?)
  6. Now that you have all these things down, it’s time to pay attention to branding!
    1. We cannot say enough about logo design. You don’t need to spend thousands of dollars, but you do need to figure out a way to boil down the flavor of your race to something visual that leads it. For example, for our Mud Mash, we have “Happy Pig.” Whenever we make a decision about the event, we ask, “Would Happy Pig approve?”
    2. Using your logo and your event vision, it’s time to develop a website. And again, while you can spend oodles of money on flash, the reality is – for most smaller, first year events, the connections you have, the posters you make, and the word of mouth you generate is really enough. These things drive people to the site for info. And, if you did your homework on the above, there will plenty of people “making it flashy” for you without too much effort.
    3. Set up registration. You can take mail-in reg, but it’s usually better to go with an online registration service – most services offer turnkey solutions that you just process by filling in form inquiries, and you’ll take care of waivers, actual registration, contact info collection, demographic data, and payment processing without much hassle. is a great site – but expensive. We are currently working with CCNBikes, who has awesome customer service and work to customize your registration to your needs.
    4. Find champions to promote your events – maybe they are beneficiaries, or friends, co-workers, whatever. Arm them with posters and promotional cards. Send them to meetings. Send press releases out and talk to the media. Give people ample time to hear about it and be trained up for it.
    5. Get insurance. We can’t recommend working with Bay Risk enough.
    6. Logistics!
      1. Make sure you design solid advertising. Posters are a better investment than anything, and pretty cheap. Be sure to give shirts away at your event for year-over-year word of mouth. Good luck figuring out shirt sizing. We’ve yet to get it perfect.
      2. Course marking – when you mark your course, assume your racers are stupid! They aren’t obviously. But the problem is, during race day, you kind of put your head down and make assumptions. Mark it like your dog is trying to follow the arrows. Use people wherever you can (the racers ignore those, too). We’ve used tape to mark off a trail and people jump right over it.
      3. Timing – you can go super cheap and do it yourself by getting bib numbers with rip-off bottoms and just collecting them on a wire clotheshanger unstrung. Or, you can get fancy and hire a timing company. You get what you pay for.
      4. Think about the finish experience. We remember best what happened last. What do you want your racers to come away thinking? Is this a big, fat party, a reverent celebration, or a quiet time?
    7. Sponsorship
      1. Sponsorship is really hard to come by. Unless you’re pulling giant numbers, you need to work hard to get big cash.
      2. Look in unusual places – ask companies to help you with supplies you need, like food or woord.
      3. Customize your options, don’t just make it cookie-cutter.
      4. Get swag – this is part of that finish experience.
    8. Videographers/photographers
      1. People like photos of themselves. They’ll buy them, too. You can hire someone to take it, or get someone to take photos for free and post them online for sale. Make sure you can use them, too.
      2. Get visual collateral from the event. Photos are great and video is king.

There you go – basic event production in a nutshell!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Your positive feedback.

Spent the week going through surveys to better our events and just loved what some of you wrote. I think you’ll be as inspired to keep doing this as we were.

Question: What did you get out of the event?

More than I could possibly explain in words! Empowered!

I got to experience God's creation in a way that I don't get to in my asphalt world. To be on untouched, all natural land was very cool. The sense of accomplishment we felt immediately after the race (which I'm still feeling) was very rewarding.

There’s a couple MJ plants between CP1 and CP2 that were pretty interesting to come across. We were definitely way off track when we saw them kind of funny like we were on the show Weed. Cant wait for another race and some longer courses. Had the best race experience of the year.

a sense of accomplishment, perhaps the sense that there is a community of like-minded athletes that would be fun/interesting to be part of.

Discovering your perceived boundaries and smashing through. The race is about self discovery and pushing yourself on.

Umm... a beer mug? Tasty cinnamon bread? It was a fun event and a great group of people...

I learned what i needed to work on in order to improve my riding. it was a very good introduction to the world of DH racing. i WILL be back, and i WILL be racing as frequently as i can from now on

I was scared shitless. However, I was also hopeful that I would have a day reminiscent of being a 12y/o, riding my bike, mashing up and down creeks finding turtle shells and swinging off of rope-swings. I definitely got the adult version of a perfect childhood summer day.

I believe that it was the people that made this run so amazing! The awesome costumes, the good attitudes, and the guy playing bagpipes on the hill made this event sooo well... unbelievable!!!

Everything about this event was fabulous. Registration was hassle-free and everyone was pleasant and willing to help, the course was challenging, the obstacles were fun and challenging, and overall the experience, shirt, and cup were definitely worth the money.

Going up the hill and getting sprayed with the hose and slipping in the mud. Also being so tired and turning the corner and seeing a guy play the bagpipes was one of the funniest things in the world.

The course itself was the best experience! I liked how they added a few "surprises" in there and that the website doesn't really give TOO much detail about it. I had a lot of anxiety before the event not knowing what to expect, but that's also the main reason why I wanted to do it!

I loved being able to work as a team with my team mates and complete the challenges together. I like the fact that not only did we grow closer as a team but also closer as friends because we helped each other out when one needed help.

Question: How did you feel when you finished?

I felt like I could kill all the terrorists by myself/eat the moon.

Beaten, yet epically satisfied. Itchy.

The venue was spectacular.

I was reluctant because I thought the water temp would be too cold. I was surprised to find that although it was cold, it wasn't so cold that I felt unable to swim. (Morro Bay Tri)

I felt very excited I finished, I wanted to ride the course again. I felt like I could just about ride anything now.

Due to race pressure I pushed myself harder than normal and was reminded of the fact that I can do more than I think I can. Motivated that next time I want to do better.

I felt Amazing!! I was on an adrenaline high for the rest of the day. I had a soccer game at 1:30 the same day and I thought I would be wiped but I was exactly the opposite! I was on FIRE for the whole game (I didn't even nap!). It was the most fun I have had in a LONG time and it was a Great workout!! Definitely doing it next year!

I've run a marathon, half-marathons, and shorter distance races. I love running, but this mud run was the most FUN I've ever had while running.

Question: What made you do this event?

Looking forward to the location and great weather!

I was super interested in this one vs. the SLO event because of the more natural course; using the bay and the beach and trails. (Morro Bay Tri)\

If the course appears to be extremely different than anything I've done, it intrigues me. I like the challenge and trying new things.

I can trail run any day of the week....but the obstacles were the reason I participated. What normal person would wade through Laguna Lake for the heck of it?

Question: What would say to people about what makes All Out Events different?

i think your races are about camaraderie and really encouraging people to get into this awesome sport.

Fun, challenge, great terrain, good organization. The difference is that you have the good terrain that is not overused and you have great volunteers staffing the race.

Great race, being my third year i love the location and what it demand physically and mentally. Your choice of trekking sets you apart from say the nor cal series and tahoe.

I REALLY like All-Out: friendly volunteers/workers, good aid stations, still feels "local". (I also really like your cute podiums for 1st, 2nd, 3rd place finishers!)

Friendly atmosphere, effort at making the events unique and showed that you really know the area - for instance, loved the bridges!

well, the course was badass, and not many people can pull that off these days. just a well run race, no obvious hiccups, snafus, etc. I got to show up, ride, have a good time, and you guys took care of the rest.

A group of people having a blast in the middle of no-where pushing ourselves to new mental and physical limits in a sport we all love :) I love how I can always count on All Out events to define crazy race courses that challenge people of all levels in more ways than one.

id have to say that they need to get out of the house and be apart of the All Out racing experience

Monday, January 16, 2012

And They’re Off!–An Adventure Race Report by a 10-year-old competitor

Just another example of how awesome our racers are . . . age is irrelevant on the field! This is from our 2011 Lopez Lake short-course adventure race.

And they’re off!

By Griffin Coxwell

This sport was made for me. As I lined up for the start of the race, I visualized the route me and my cousin, Shaun, were going to take. But I’m getting ahead of myself. We were competing in the All Out adventure racing challenge. Adventure racing is a sport, that has at least three other sports in it. Our race had kayaking, biking and hiking/rock climbing in it.

BAAARRRR! There’s the air horn!! we’re off! We race to the kayak and start paddling as fast as we can. Cold water splashes my face. I look at the map. There are 5 checkpoints on the lake, and we need to get 3 of them. We beach our kayak, and begin bushwhacking inland. We don’t have to go very far to find it. We speed back to the kayak, passing other teams. We push off, and frantically paddle to our next checkpoint.

By the time we get back to shore, most of the teams had passed us. Oh well, we were the youngest team ever to do this. We hopped on our bikes, and headed down an easy fire trail. To the start of A 5 MILE, UPHILL SINGLE TRACK!! We began lugging our bikes up the winding trail, and after what seemed like forever, we reached the top.  Shaun and I  gasped and and wheezed, sucking in air. We found the checkpoint! I jogged up and clicked it. I peered around the turn to the trail down the mountain. Oh yeah. this time, its a 5 mile downhill single track!
Frapppffhhh! I skid around a turn, almost knocking over our competitors . Shaun is close behind and he almost knocks them off their feet. I see the end of the trail! Shaun and I skid to a stop, throwing up dirt.  We have to ditch our bikes now. We take a quick break and set off on a half mile jog and we arrive at my favorite part of the race. The zip line! The long wire stretched across the lake. Me and Shaun could scarcely bear the wait. Finally! I grabbed the pulley thingamabob, and jumped, with no harnesses, just my two hands. I flew along the line, twenty feet above the water. Here I go... I  let go and gravity takes over. I drop and hit the water, and swim to the shore, Shaun close behind me. But the race is not over yet. We have to freaking rock climb to get the last checkpoint. We start climbing at a steady pace, slowing down as we gradually climb up the mountain. I thought it was going to last forever. Wait. There’s the checkpoint! I run up and click it, my hands fumbling in my excitement. There!

Getting down the mountain is no trouble, and when we pass the finish line, I expected to be last-but instead, its exactly the opposite! We were the only people in our division! Remember “youngest people?”

First Place!